Saturday, January 13, 2007

Jimmy Carter's New Book

A story that has been getting some press are resignations from Carter Center, including prominent Jewish members, relating to the former President's new controversial book--Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.

The book Carter makes clear is about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank not within Israel's borders. But the use of Apartheid has angered many, others apoplectic (particularly the farther right one travels on the spectrum). [Historical allusion alert: Israel co-operated with apartheid South Africa for years, not exactly like being reminded of that shinning moment.]

Like the following (Ali Abunimah, linked via TomBarnett here):
A 2003 law stipulates that an Israeli citizen may bring a non-citizen spouse to live in Israel from anywhere in the world, excluding a Palestinian from the occupied territories. A civil rights leader in Israel likened it to the American anti miscegenation measures from the 1950s, when mixed race couples had to leave the state of Virginia to marry legally.
Now Carter is certainly weak on Palestinian terror, desire to destroy Israel. You can find multiple posts to the subject (here's one). But his criticism does land when taken as simply referring to the long term core problem: Israel as a separatist national identity can not stand up to the force of globalization, for the moment ignoring Iran's nuclear ambitions, Arab anti-Semitism, Hezbollah and Hamas in power next door. Don't even know that Carter himself sees that context, but I think his criticism is valid within that frame.

I'm not per se interested in the resignations and what they mean. If people want to resign, resign, write criticisms of Carter--he deserves plenty. I'm more interested in the future and not all these argument of the past--given I'm not identified with either group I'll admit that is easier for me to do.

In other words, to use integral categories for a moment, you can not call for globalized exterior structures (economies, markets, tech platforms) without long term globalized (post-national, post-racial) identities. Right hand versus left hand quadrants. Not that national, racial, local, identities cease to exist just they no longer are primary. [This is not btw an argument for a One World Government].

Israel has achieved a modern state and while there are still major discriminatory practices within Israel--no different than US or W. Euro--it is exponentially greater with the occupation. In a way, I would say it's like the US--it came to bring a good (modernity, classical liberalism) but it did so with major costs....most especially to the indigenous tribes and enslaved populations.

Of course as long as the Palestinians exist in a tribal, pre-modern set, then the Israelis will always be able to correctly point out that "they" have no desire for us. Hence the occupation which itself continues to create the situation that in part gives rise to the problem.

In this post, Barnett calls for something I hadn't thought of before--and still not sure what I think of but has a chance to split the difference on this whole issue of trans-national aka international law/governance and national identity-individual right: the expanding of the number of US States.

Here's Barnett:
I argue for turning the immigration "threat" on its head--as in, why not get back into the business of adding more states and keeping America open for new members? Suffice it to say, that the Gap's frequently frightening demonstrations of civilization's thin veneer in their own countries typically scares the hell of us in the Core, convincing many--in the manner of Mark Steyn--that the West is "doomed " unless we systematically mirror-image the perceived threat instead of remaining true to what got us strong in the first place and retaining more faith in the resilience of our political, social and economic cultures.
Which is Barnett's version of what I call conservatives not being conservative enough--not having enough faith in the traditions as opposed to having faith in the traditions (unconsciously) only insofar as they are yoked to their "original" (originalist?) context. Same holds in a different light I fear for Israel.

But the idea of expanding states is different that's for sure--doesn't really follow up on whom/how/where. This is a difficult set of issues, to which there is no easy answer.

In a globalized world, immigrants coming into a country can stay connected through communication in a way previous ones could not. When European immigrants of the 19th century set sail on the boats they may have headed to ethnic ghettos but their psychic ties were cut as were their physical ties.

For the US the Mexican immigration is different because it has been going on in waves continuously (due to physical contiguity) for hundreds of years. The other waves were generally historically specific.

And that point about the difficulty of integration with communications compounded by anti-Western bias and relativism in thought world is generally well acknowledged on the right. But the flip side is also true--there are methods of enforcement and containment available not previously. [Although the US did intern American citizens of Japanese decent as recently as 60 years ago and Jim Crow]. Walls, language tests not to mention surveillance of citizenry.

If the amount of tests put on people had been the same for many of our immigrant ancestors, they would have failed. In that sense I see the current slate of anti-immigrant waves as another in a list. Each immigrant group had its so-called "nativist" (native being a very very relative term here) reaction. Catholics groups like Irish, Italians, Poles, anti-Chinese/Asian sentiment, even reaction to the different British Isles migrations.

Barnett mentions Children of Men in this regard--when hope disappears, symbolized by infertile women, there is only negative (in worst case pathological) conservatism--conserve at all costs. Bar all others. As Wilber has said, when terror comes from the right (White Terror in French history) it is "Good over Right." When Left Terror "Right over Good" (Red Terror: e.g. gulags, re-education camps, etc.). Again that movie, like V for Vendetta set in Europe...England for English-speaking audiences--which I think has a much stronger pull, historically and demographically in this direction than US. That nasty side of things generally recognized often by left. "Good over Right" "Right over Good."

Nobody has this new balance anywhere close to being figured out.

I tend towards regional security umbrellas: allowing Russia into NATO or using Cold War European-wide Security umbrella (forget the acronym at the moment); Turkey into the EU; stronger US ties with India (one of Bush's key achievements doesn't get enough cred for); an Asian NATO; a Chinese-American deal for Africa; and the strengthening of Brazil's position in the OAS (Org. American States). Not to mention a new equilibrium made in ME principally Iran and Saudi Arabia--with Syria, Jordan, Egypt falling in their lead. Plus somebody figuring out what the hell to do with Pakistan.

That over say UN, Kyoto, and general left leaning apparati. I'm very much in sync with Alvin Toffler's idea that our current institutions (minus WTO?) are de-synchronized from the economy. But a new set has to be created in its place. That is why I am not for simply tearing down the old and leaving in its wake American unilateralism.

Either way I strongly believe a global economy must come with a global set of rules/infrastructure (quadratic harmony). The flow is in both directions simultaneously: not just the "Muslim horde" over-running Europe but evil Western values encroaching on Dar al Islam. There is actually much in this sense to be hopeful about--once we start to see that the 20th century was about the rise of Asia, and the 21st will be the Asian lead in globalization and the African entrance. i.e. Long term vision, not short term reaction (of either conservative/liberal configuration).

At each point that the markets come in, many societies are unready to deal with the consequences, Barnett argues. The groups/individuals who will in many cases be primed for activity will be educated individuals with something to lose from the new system--revolutionaries are always educated....Marxist, Salafi or otherwise.

So as Barnett says, is there a limit based on color, religion, economic status, country of origin, to becoming a citizen or not? That isn't to say there doesn't have to be in the interim police, intelligence efforts--i.e. individuals who do not want to become part of the society. But what I take often to be all or nothing scenarios to me do not work. Do not offer a future vision of hope.


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